Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Arsenal v Watford Match Preview

With Liverpool and Chelsea facing off on Tuesday night, Arsenal will be looking to capitalise on any potential slip-ups from their Premier League rivals as they welcome Watford.

Arsene Wenger's Gunners sit eight points behind Chelsea with 16 games remaining, and need Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool to do them a favour and beat Antonio Conte's league leaders to open up the title race.

Arsenal must overcome Walter Mazzarri's Watford in a London derby at Emirates Stadium to put pressure on the Blues, and the Hornets are winless in seven league games.

Wenger will be serving the second game of his four-match touchline ban against Watford, but with a trip to Stamford Bridge up next for the Gunners, Arsenal do not their coach on the sidelines to remind them that Tuesday's encounter could be an important stepping stone to a potentially decisive title clash this weekend. 


Santi Cazorla is now the only absentee for Arsenal, though the Spanish midfielder may be out for the rest of the season with his achilles injury. Danny Welbeck returned in style in the FA Cup, scoring the first two goals in a 5-0 away win against Southampton on Saturday to hand Wenger a striking dilemma regarding his front line.

The manager must decide whether to stick with the likes of Welbeck and Walcott - who scored a hat-trick against the Saints - or restore Olivier Giroud to the starting line-up against Watford.

With Mohamed Elneny still at the African Cup of Nations, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could continue in central midfield after an excellent showing at St Mary's.

Mazzarri will almost certainly be without Costel Pantilimon after the goalkeeper was injured in the FA cup exit at Millwall, but Heurelho Gomes was likely to start at the Emirates anyway. 

Christian Kabasele may return from injury, while Valon Behrami (hamstring), Nordin Amrabat (ankle) and Isaac Success (hamstring) are all doubts. Roberto Pereyra remains out with a serious knee injury.

New forwards Mauro Zarate and M'Baye Niang will both be pushing for a start at the Emirates, but may well be used off the bench in the second half.


Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey; Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez; welbeck

Watford: Gomes, Kaboul, Prodl, Britos, Janmaat, Capoue, Doucoure, Holebas, Cleverley, Okaka, Deeney

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